It is as absurd as it is unnecessary that this article had to come into existence, would it be in a country, which would be ruled by serious politicians and not a bunch of self-absorbed clowns, who now rule without democratic legitimation and causing havoc with the constitutional rights of South African residents (see also the articles The COVID Gods of South Africa and The Coup that ended Democracy in South Africa).
One issue in particular irks me, not because I belong to the ousted group of smokers, but because of its background, and that is the decision to continue the ban on sales of tobacco products and e-Cigarettes.
We all have been witness, live and in colour, to the announcement made by President Ramaphosa, that the ban on tobacco sales will be lifted with the implementation of stage 4 of the lockdown regulations pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. But then we all had to be witness to the reversal of his promise by the politically resurrected disaster of a politician, Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, which will be referred to as “NDZ” from here on.
NDZ, ex-wife of former President and top honcho of the corrupt elite that saw South Africa being sold to the Gupta Brothers and is currently facing 860 criminal charges, has a highly controversial past as politician and member of the power-core of the ANC, the NEC. We thought the worst is over when she lost the race for President and was pushed into the political desert of what is called Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (“COGTA”). But boy, have we been wrong.
Up goes the curtain for another act of the seemingly endless saga “How I screwed the People for my own Benefit”, in the main role: NDZ. The scenes of this unexpected amended rendition of “The (COVIDA) Gods must be Crazy” forced us to sit through the display of a bitter old woman wearing traditional African attire and stuttering through what was supposed be a justification for her decision to reverse the President’s announcement of lifting the ban on the sale of tobacco products. Pretending to be concerned with the well-being of the People she was stumbling and stuttering through explanations for the use of “Zol” in informal settlement and sharing a “skyfe” (watch here). What has this to do with the tobacco consume at home? She further tried to justify her decision with 2 000 votes received to keep the ban in place … 2 000 unidentified people out of a total population of 58 million versus 11 million smokers! It seems she shares a further incompetence with her former husband, the inability to make sense of numbers (watch here). But what is her motivation? Well, that is easy as one can learn from following the tracks that led to the funding of her previous political campaigns. They start and end with her close friend Adriano Mazzotti.
AS far as three years back already, NDZ was accused of working closely with corrupt cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti and his company Carnilinx, both implicated of having committed fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and (sic!) illicit tobacco trading.
The pair’s relationship was nicely detailed by Jacques Pauw, author of “The President’s Keepers”, researching that NDZ accepted campaign donations and merchandising deals from them during her bid for the presidency at NASREC – despite knowing how Mazzotti and his goons consistently broke the law. It went even further when Sunday Times documented the minister and the tobacco kingpin becoming very cosy with each other:
This means that the motivation is – as usual – selfish and forces the millions of smokers into the shadows of the illegal cigarette trade, right into the hands of her “pal”, who charges the desperate nicotine junkies up to R 120 per package of 20 (normally R 12 – R 38) without paying any taxes, taxes that to the tune of ZAR 35 million per day could have gone into the solidarity fund or into the books of Tito Mboweni, who is trying to administer a state budget with dwindling revenue and increasing budgets for grants, child support and assistance to ailing businesses.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) – without any democratic legitimation and whose God-like members are relentlessly driving their own agendas – is now not only violating almost every constitutional right of South Africans but also fraternising with and to the benefit of the crime syndicates exploiting the state of pandemic in our country.
How long do we still have to suffer under unjustified lockdown regulations while watching our families and pets suffering from cabin fever, our businesses being bankrupted and our jobs – excuse the pun – being blown up in smoke?